Hong Kong, China
Situated in central Hong Kong, 8½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana has been a temple of Italian hospitality and cuisine since opening in 2008. An award-winning restaurant led by an award-winning chef, Otto e Mezzo and its front of house team have been refining their dining experience for 11 years now, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere that led the restaurant to be recognised with the Art of Hospitality Award 2019 by the voters of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants.
Created by Italian chef Umberto Bombana and managed by host and sommelier Marino Braccu, Otto e Mezzo offers an experience that is sophisticated without feeling stuffed. As soon as you cross the restaurant’s door, you are entering the world of chef Bombana, nicknamed ‘the king of white truffles’. And indeed, the first taste of Otto e Mezzo comes through the nose: it is the aroma of truffles that makes its way from the kitchen into the dining room.
The elegant space is brightened by colourful artwork hanging on the walls, representing Bombana’s inspiration when he opened the restaurant, which also gave it its name: Federico Fellini’s 1963 movie 8½, representing a film director’s gradual retreat into his own fantasies and memories. Similarly, it is easy to let yourself be guided by the expert team and lose yourself in the world of Bombana and Braccu.
The tasting menu takes diners on a journey through Italy’s finest products, elevated with ground-breaking techniques and presented with impeccable attention to detail. From the fresh breads to the homemade pastas and the original meat and fish courses, and finally the desserts (including a black truffle ice cream with outstanding umami flavour), the rhythm of the experience helps you dive deep into Italy’s food culture one dish at a time.
Attentive staff, quick to answer and eager to please, carry out an outstanding performance waltzing through the tables, checking that everyone is feeling comfortable and graciously accommodating diners’ requests. Even when Bombana’s famous truffles come into the dining room, there is no pretentious waiting at the table – instead, they are shaved over the homemade tagliolini as if they had always belonged there.
In 2018, Bombana’s right arm, Braccu, updated the wine list too, adding over 400 new wines. The rare bottles and special editions, coming from small family wineries from Tuscany to Sicily, contribute to the overall feeling of having found a hidden corner of true Italian hospitality in the middle of Hong Kong.
Discover more about the previous award winners